The firm claims it has become the first consumer goods company to declare where it sources the commodity, both directly and indirectly, and it wants to “drive positive change in the palm oil industry.”
“The palm oil supply chain is long and complex, with the palm oil changing hands many times before it reaches our factories,” said Unilever.
“The fruit is grown on plantations where farmers sell their produce to middle men and agents. They in turn supply it to a mill where the fruit bunches are processed. Next it is transported via traders to refineries for further processing. Only after this point does it enter our direct supply chain.
“Transparency and traceability are important as we can only effectively address the systemic issues associated with how palm oil is cultivated and produced — such as deforestation and human rights abuses — if we know exactly where the problems are.”
Unilever said it had mapped more than 1,400 mills and over 300 direct suppliers.
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